Herschel detects large amounts of cold dust in SN1987A
This graph shows how the infrared emission from the remnant of supernova SN1987A varies at different wavelengths.
The detection by Herschel, visible on the right side of the graph, corresponds to far-infrared wavelengths. In this region of the electromagnetic spectrum, Herschel is sensitive to emission by cold dust. At temperatures of 16–23 Kelvin, the newly discovered dust component is about 20 times colder than any dust detected in the past in this supernova remnant. This demonstrates that SN1987A contains an amount of dust nearly equivalent to the mass of the Sun and roughly 1000 times larger than what was previously believed.
Shown on the left side of the graph are previous detections at shorter infrared wavelengths, corresponding to emission by warm dust. These data are based on observations performed with the Spitzer Space Telescope.